GMSA commends government on Budget 2024
The Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) commends the Government of Guyana for its proactive and forward-thinking plans presented in the National Budget 2024, under the theme Staying the Course: Building Prosperity for All”. By allocating an unprecedented 1.1 trillion Guyana dollars, the association acknowledges the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and development in Guyana.
The GMSA is particularly pleased with the emphasis placed on supporting the manufacturing sector, as this will undoubtedly create new opportunities for local businesses and contribute to job creation. The growth in non-oil real GDP in 2023 by 11.7% has resulted in the expansion of the manufacturing sector by 25% and services by 10.3%. This hereby reaffirms private sector and manufacturing resilience, despite challenges in the global economy.
The continuing development of current transformative infrastructure is key to enabling business activity and delivery. Such key infrastructures include enhancements to the energy grid, incorporating developments like the Gas-to-Energy project and solar and hydro initiatives. Equally significant are transformative land infrastructures, including the Demerara Harbour Bridge, the Schoonord to Crane highway, and the Ogle to Soesdyke Linden highway. These initiatives collectively contribute to fostering a conducive environment for business operations.
Government’s inclusion of some of the association’s recommendations assured the intention to work collaboratively with the private sector. The measures below are essential in supporting the manufacturing and services sectors:
1. $527.4 million for the development of the agro-processing sector. The GMSA anticipates that this strategic investment will provide manufacturers with the necessary infrastructure to enhance their production capabilities and meet growing market demands.
2. $3.3 billion for the development and rehabilitation of industrial estates in Wales (Region 3), Regions 2 and 10. The GMSA believes the development of these estates will further support the growth of manufacturing in Guyana.
3. $450 million towards the replenishment of the Small Business Bureau (SBB) Fund, which the GMSA has continuously advocated for in order to support product enhancement and growth in the agriculture and agro-processing industries. It will also enable businesses to attend regional and international trade fairs and events. Entrepreneurs will also benefit from training and mentorship.
4. $500 million for the Food and Drugs Lab, which the GMSA believes will strengthen regulatory bodies and accredit laboratories to do testing, inspection, and certification of products for exportation.
5. Over $8 billion for the development of human resources to fund tertiary education through Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) and the University of Guyana (UG), and a further 2.8 billion to develop skills training (Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVG)). This, the GMSA believes, will address the shortage of skills and manpower in the country while simultaneously enhancing the workforce through upskilling initiatives.
6. Containing the cost of fuel at 0% excise tax and extending the reduction of freight charges for another 12 months, which will assist businesses to be more competitive on the local and global market and mitigate challenges.
7. Increasing the income tax threshold to $100,000 monthly, thereby adding $4.8 billion in disposable income to the working population.
GMSA remains open and committed to working with the Government to foster a thriving business landscape and a prosperous future for Guyana.